Not Quite.

After a little over 48 hours I can confidently say that I am not ready to go an iPad as my full-time computer. I find iOS on the iPad Pro to be quite slick, but it’s not robust enough for my power use. I missed having a mouse or trackpad and I found working in apps all the time to be too confining. Plus, the web browsing experience is not all the way there. It’s 95% there, but there are still too many sites that just act abnormally on iOS.

The new iPad Pros are amazing. The Apple Pencil is awesome and I love my 10-inch iPad a lot. It’s *perfect* for my aviation needs. It’s perfect for writing a blog entry or editing photos on the go. But editing movies? Writing code? Making graphics? It just doesn’t completely fill my needs.

Let’s see what iOS 13 brings. In the meanwhile, I’m going to continue to love this mid-2015 15-inch MacBook Pro. The keyboard is awesome, it works the way I want it to work, and it does what I need it to do.

20 day Challenge.

I’m in the midst of my personal 30 (well, 28) day challenge for the month of February and it’s going quite well. This was in personal to me and not something I really wish to discuss on the blog as of yet, so there’s that. Since this personal growth challenge is going so well, I decided to add a 20 day tech challenge for the remainder of the month.

I’ve been reading up about the latest flavors of iPad, Google tablets, and Microsoft Surface products; all manufacturers are claiming these things are their solution to the “ultimate computer”, no matter what form this computing device takes. All three solutions I’ve been reading up on, the iPad Pro, the Microsoft Surface Pro, and the Google Pixel Slate, offer a hybrid approach of tablet with keyboard. All but the iPad Pro provide support for a pointing device like a mouse or trackpad.

I have the original version of the 10-inch iPad Pro. It’s my Electronic Flight Bag, having replaced my previous Mac Mini in that area, and it works very well in that role, especially when coupled with an Apple Pencil. My 20 day tech challenge for the remainder of the month is to see if I can do everything I want to do with my daily computing needs by just using this iPad Pro.

My iPad Pro has the latest version of iOS and it is coupled with the Logitech Slim Folio Keyboard Case. The keyboard is backlit and connects to my iPad through the SmartConnector, so I don’t need to charge it separately nor do I have to pair it via Bluetooth. It just works. I love that about it. I also love the keyboard. Though it is smaller due to the small size of my iPad, it is very comfortable to type on and I can fly along with my typing habits with ease. This keyboard also provides typical full-sized laptop function keys, something missing on the Apple Smart Cover available for iPad. I also prefer the Logitech keyboard’s touch, feel, and travel over the Smart Cover from Apple.

iOS and the App Store provide all of the tools I need for this little quest I’m on. The goal of this 20 day venture is to force me to learn all the nuances of the iOS experience on an iPad and to determine whether it can ultimately fully replace my MacBook Pro. While I don’t plan on replacing this iPad any time soon (it’s the perfect size for the cockpit), I am looking at possibly replacing my MacBook Pro with the newer, larger iPad Pro, if it is something that I can absolutely do.

One of my goals it to play around with editing video during this challenge, so don’t be surprised if you see a flight video or something before the end of the month.

The tech companies are trying hard to push us to a tablet driven experience for our primary computing needs and it feels like we need to shift the computing paradigm a little bit to get technology moving in a forward direction again.

Let’s see how my little experiment turns out.

Art.

So the family went to the Museum of Contemporary Art today. Jamie wanted to check out a limited run exhibit for a grad school project and we came along for the fun. I’m a big fan of the art museums in our fine city. This was my first visit to MOCA.

Whenever I go to an art museum I feel inspired to take a mundane photo in an artsy way in an attempt to embrace my inner geek. I’ve taken photos of washing machines in a laundromat, random shots on the ‘L’, etc. Today I took a photo at a nearby by M Burger.

I called this one “Jaunty”.

Forgiveness.

Very early in my professional career I worked for Digital, otherwise known as Digital Equipment Corporation, commonly (but erroneously by corporate standards) called DEC. At the time I was with the company it was the second largest computer company in the world. I was one of about 120,000 employees. This was back in the late 1980s.

One of the mantras at Digital was to always do the right thing. You could always ask for forgiveness later. Even at age 19 I took this approach with my career and I made changes in software that turned out great in the long run, but I had to ask for forgiveness for going outside the development processes that had been in place long before I joined the company.

The company I currently work for is primarily a Microsoft shop, even though we use Linux all day and every day on our servers. A while back I was given a Windows 10 laptop to replace the Mac I had insisted be present for me to join the company; it seems they wanted to go all Windows on the desktop and Macs just weren’t fitting into that scheme. The company does offer a BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device program and many opt to do this. When the Windows 10 laptop arrived I registered my work MacBook Pro into the Bring Your Own Device program, which kept it alive on the corporate network. I’m lucky that I work remotely; the MBP can’t be plugged into the network at an office.

As a “ Crazy One”, I am able to get a lot of work done on my Mac. I even spent hours over the holidays comparing my workflow on the Windows 10 computer versus my workflow on the Mac and how much of a difference it made in my levels of productivity. I am 34% less productive on a Windows machine, mostly because of a lack of cohesiveness in the software experience on Windows, and because of the number of reboots required during the day (the company uses a mix of 32 and 64 bit software which I think makes Windows 10 cranky).

Plus, the fan is running all. the. time. on the Dell laptop they gave me.

I don’t know if the BYOD program is going to remain alive forever at work, but I’m going to continue using this MacBook Pro for as long as I can.

If someone doesn’t like it, I’ll ask for forgiveness later.

In the meanwhile, I’ll continue to dazzle to the best of my ability. I mean, getting things done is what it’s all about, right?

Tim Cook: It’s Time For Action on Data Privacy.

CUPERTINO, CA – JULY 28: Apple CEO Tim Cook poses for a portrait at Apple’s global headquarters in Cupertino, California on July 28, 2016. Cook has been CEO for five years; he took over for Steve Jobs shortly before Jobs’ death. (Photo by Andrew Burton/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

One of the biggest challenges in protecting privacy is that many of the violations are invisible. For example, you might have bought a product from an online retailer—something most of us have done. But what the retailer doesn’t tell you is that it then turned around and sold or transferred information about your purchase to a “data broker”—a company that exists purely to collect your information, package it and sell it to yet another buyer.

Tim Cook Calls for US Privacy Regulations in Time Op-Ed. Link to story originally found at Macstories.net.

Apple often gets lumped in with Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. when it comes to online presence. But Apple is not like the others. Tim Cook is looking for action on protecting users’ data privacy.

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L.

Image from Chicago Magazine

This month, Chicago Magazine published an article entitled “What CTA Workers Know.” The online interactive version is quite interesting.

I love riding the ‘L’ and the buses. The CTA is one of the reasons I am so in love with the City of Chicago. I am fascinated as to how well the infrastructure works. When departing near the front of a train I always wish the “motor-person” a good day. I always smile to the bus operator. They’re working hard and many take them for granted.

This particular quote from the article makes me smile.

Despite the bad things that you see, if you

just look at all the

people moving and

actually living, it

brings joy to your

soul. You’re seeing life.

Lighting.

The City of Chicago recently left some information hanging off the knob on the door into the lobby of our building. The city was excited to let us know that our streetlights were replaced by energy-efficient, self-maintaining LED “smart lights”. Because of this conversion, we would be in a 21st century, cost-efficient environment at night. We’d also be safer because of better illumination.

This is a portion of a street featuring the new “smart lights”. The new LED bulbs are fitted into existing fixtures and are definitely brighter. I’m sure they’re cost efficient and I’m thinking they have some wifi gadgetry built in so they’ll notify a central hub as to when they think they’re having some sort of problem.

The thing is, they’re so harshly bright.

On most mornings I go for a walk through the neighborhood. Since I start out at 6:00 a.m., at this time of year that means walking in the dark. Because I’m a mammal and it’s winter, my eyes take a few moments to adjust to the outside light.

The new LED lights are very startling.

I’m finding myself trying to walk in the shadows along the blocks that have the new lights installed and modifying my traditional route so I can stay on streets that have the older, sodium vapor lights.

I’m old enough to remember when municipalities switched from the old mercury vapor lights that gave off a greenish tint. It was a weird color and the contents of the bulb probably would have killed me, but the lighting wasn’t harsh, it was just weird.

In the decades of the sodium vapor lights, with their pink or orangeish hue, my eyes never really had trouble adjusting and the lights were actually helpful in snowstorms.

I’m all for energy efficiency and doing everything we can to make the planet last as long as possible while increasing safety in our neighborhoods, but with the technology to make LED lamps give off just about any color possible, shouldn’t we be looking to make these new smart lamps give off light resembling something like daylight?

This bluish, harsh, bright lighting has to be intrusive for the people for the neighborhoods it’s sharing space with.

Here’s an interesting story about the effects of this new LED lighting: American Medical Association Warns Of Health And Safety Problems From “White” LED Streetlights

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Google.

I’m sitting in a local Starbucks working on a couple of blog entries and other computer related tasks I had scheduled for today. At the moment there are 26 laptops or tablets in use through this rather large location. I casually glanced at each of the screens as I walked to my table in the corner and I noticed a solid trend.

Every user is using Google Chrome. It didn’t matter if they were on an iPad, a Mac, or a Windows computer. Google Chrome is front and center. Everyone is on the web and they’re using Chrome to get there.

I’ve expressed my concern with Google and their ad based model in the past. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like the idea of personal data being scraped for ad sensing purposes (and who knows what else). But the fact of the matter is, if you follow my “Technological Golden Rule” of never typing anything into a computer that you wouldn’t want to appear on the front page of the New York Times, you shouldn’t have a problem, right?

The thing about privacy is not what Google is going to sense through my interaction with the Chrome browser. It’s what’s being picked up on webcams and other IoT (Internet of Things) devices like Alexa powered smoke detectors and Android powered refrigerators. Google Home devices or Alexa? They can muted with a hardware switch or unplugged. And honestly, I know where they are in my home. It’s the incredible number of webcams I see on neighborhood streets. I just figure I’m being watched at all times. It’s like being chipped without the shot.

As a software developer currently focused on web applications, I have to use Google Chrome. That browser is the standard for users today. Microsoft is getting ready to move their Microsoft Edge browser to the Chromium base. (Chromium being the base Google Chrome is built on). And let’s face it, Apple’s Safari may be fast on Macs, but there are times when it struggles with rendering web pages properly.

Go ahead, join me and use Google Chrome. Just please continue to be safe in your browsing habits and always be mindful of the information you’re sharing online and how you’re sharing it. Read up on VPN services for public access (personally I use Private Tunnel when I’m surfing in public).

Be a smart Internet citizen.

Late.

It’s just after 1:00 a.m. in Chicago and I’m sitting here playing around on the computer. More specifically I’m playing with an old, beat-up Lenovo ThinkPad T410 running Debian Linux. I don’t know the age of this computer but it still runs like a charm.

You’d think after being a geek all day at work I wouldn’t have any interest in being a geek until all hours of the night, but here we are. This is when I exercise my skillz (snazzy ‘z’ there) and explore new things on old computers. Honestly, I love my MacBook Pro from 2015 but frankly it’s boring. I know what it’s going to do, I know how it’s going to do it, and it’s been doing it the same way for years. Messing around in Linux is always an adventure, and when I can keep the computer running as expected for more than one hour after tinkering, I consider the evening a success.

I’m just realizing that it’s Friday night and I’m acting like being up at 1:00 a.m. means it’s wicked late. I used to DJ until 3:00 a.m. a little over a decade ago, but then again a little over a decade ago I was still in my 30s.

I might not have as much pep as I used to but I’m still filled to the brim with geek.